Getting a Good Price on Gitzo
Gitzo tripods are widely considered to be the best available for field use. They are also widely considered to outrageously expensive. You do get what you pay for, but if you've ever wished there were a cheaper way to get a Gitzo, then this tip is for you.
In the United States, Gitzo is imported by Bogen, meaning that if you buy a Gitzo tripod you get to pay both Gitzo and Bogen their cut. Fortunately, in other parts of the world, this isn't the case. Now all that is needed is a way to take advantage of this difference.
Robert White Camera Specialists in the United Kingdom is a dealer and distributor of professional camera equipment and accessories, including Gitzo tripods. If you compare their prices to those of US dealers including reputable names like B+H, you'll find they are at least a third lower. As an example, the carbon fiber G1227 "Mountaineer" tripod sells for $626 at B+H. Robert White sells the same tripod for £232 which comes to only $330 at current exchange rates. Shipping to North America will run you about another $75 (these things are somewhat bulky to ship you know) while B+H shipping will only set you back $15 or so. Total for B+H comes to $641. Robert White? Only $405. Not bad if you ask me. Other Gitzo tripods are comparable.
You can find Robert White on the web at http://www.robertwhite.co.uk.
Update: In discussions with someone online today (January 12, 2003) it seems as if things have changed. After factoring in overseas shipping, Robert White comes out about the same as good old B&H right here in the US. Still worth checking out the next time you're in the market for a tripod though.